Don’t you know that feeling? That you think that The United States are similar to Canada, That New Zealand is similar to Australia and that Korea is similar to Japan?Well I always have that feeling when I think of Belgium, the country being similar to The Netherlands.
Last summer I spent my summer holiday in Flanders, the Dutch speaking region in the north of Belgium. Belgium, a country that lies a little over an hour away from where I live (near The Hague). A country that in many aspects is so the same and yet so different at times. During my last visit to Belgium, I went to 3 of Belgiums biggest cities, Brugges, Ghent and Antwerp, the 2nd being the furthest away.
When I arrived in Ghent, it felt like I entered a different era, an era from several hundred years ago. The city dates back to Celtic times and has grown into one of the most important cities of the low lands during the Middle Ages. Many of the architecturual styles of those days can still be seen in the city, where cathedrals and the castle dominate the ‘skyline’.
The castle is open to the public, and for a small entry fee, you can overlook the city and place yourself in a knight’s boot and imagine your demsel in distress waiting for you. Even though I’ve had my fair share of traveling including old cities, I have never felt more like I was walking straight into a different era. While the trams take me back to present days, I can’t help but letting my mind wander to older days. For those of you who have watched the movie the Davinci Code, there is a scene where Tom Hanks ‘sees’ London as though he was present during the Middle Ages. Well, I kinda had the same experience while in Ghent.
So is this city a hiddem gem? Actually yes! Even though I knew the city was around, I never knew what is was about until last summer. So nearby and yet different from the (to me) well known canals of Amsterdam, lies this city that combines the beauty of the past with the comfort of today.
If you are in Europe, don’t forget to head to Belgium and visit this city! If you have any more questions regarding the ins and outs of my visit, please shoot me a message or leave a comment! For more info, visit: